Throwing candy to kids is always a good way to endear yourself to parade attendees.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Last year, there was no Fourth of July parade or fireworks in Needham, while this year, the fireworks were cancelled, but the parade was allowed to continue. This meant that unless you were going to put on your own cookout or smuggle some fireworks from the New Hampshire border and invite some friends to light them with you, if you were going to celebrate American Independence Day in town with your fellow Needhamites, the parade last Monday morning was your only chance to do so.
With the streets packed with baby strollers with American flags taped to them, red, white and blue adorned kids on the hunt for tossed candy, and adults trying desperately to keep their children from noticing the cart full of Spongebob balloons, the parade was more than festive enough to carry the holiday on its own.
Firetrucks, both modern and antique, got the festivities started, with their loud sirens helping to clear the streets of people unsure of when the parade was going to make its way down to their location. The police, and even Community Resource Dog Rocket followed, throwing candy to the kids as the crowd continued to expand onto local lawns and walkways along the parade route.
Local dignitaries were well represented at the parade, ranging from Grand Marshals and 2016 Melick Award winners Lois and Ron Sockol to Congressman Jake Auchincloss, State Senator Becca Rausch, and State Representative Denise Garlick. Others being driven in the parade included Vice Chair Marianne Cooley and Select Board Chair Matthew Borrelli, as well as Select Board members Dan Matthews, Lakshmi Balachandra and Marcus Nelson.
The League of Women Voters followed, with their banner declaring they are “empowering voters and defending democracy,” before the Boy Scouts marched behind them. But while the Colonial groups like the Stow Minutemen and their battle drums were to be expected, there were a couple musicians who threw some people off, due to their not being part of traditional July 4th celebrations. On top of The New Liberty Jazz Band there was a mariachi band playing “La Bamba” and a brass drum band called the Branches Steel Orchestra playing an upbeat cover of “The Sound of Silence.”
As for the floats that served as advertisements for future events, the Needham Rotary Club’s Carnival float was joined by a “Romeo and Juliet” float. It featured Juliet in a castle tower housed in the bed of a truck.
It wasn’t the duck boat parade Boston’s professional sports teams get when they win a championship, but for Needham High volleyball, the Fourth of July parade doubled as a celebration of their recent state championship. Not to be outdone, Needham Soccer Club teams showed off their championship banners, as well.
There were far more floats and scores more marchers than could be mentioned here, so while Hometown Weekly cannot go so far as to say the fireworks weren't missed (as they most certainly were), we also feel comfortable declaring that Needham's Fourth of July parade was more than enough to properly celebrate America's birthday.